Lunar New Year 2023 - Year of the Rabbit


Welcome, travelers! The Lunar New Year festival returned to Pokémon Go again in 2023. During this event, there was an increased chance of lucky trades, as well as a higher chance of becoming lucky friends through each interaction with best friends! This year, we not only had our usual goal to confirm if the increased rates matched what we observed in previous years, but also had a new mission! After our publication about the lucky trade rate cap of 20% in July 2022, travelers around the world were curious to know if this cap also applies to trades made during events which feature an increased lucky trade rate. Our Researchers combed through their attics and cleaned out the garage to find any unneeded old Pokémon and met up with their friends to find out!

Comparing to past observations

First, let’s address the results of this year’s ongoing observations: trades involving only newly caught Pokémon and interactions between best friends.

Our Researchers managed to do 2108 trades during the event where both Pokémon had been caught within the past year, and we found that 9.49% (99% CI 7.9 – 11.2%) of these trades were lucky. This matches our findings from the previous Lunar New Year events in 2019, 2020 (except the first day), 2021 and 2022 which also showed an approximately doubled rate of ~10% compared to the normal ~5%.

Similarly, the rate of becoming lucky friends with best friends when interacting was increased to ~3%, as observed during the Lunar New Year Events in 2020 and 2021, a rate significantly higher than the standard ~1% chance. During the event, our researchers interacted 1112 times with their friends resulting in a total of 37 lucky friends for a rate of 3.33% (99% CI 2.1 – 4.9%). (Note: these numbers include all types of friendship interactions.)

Looking at the lucky rate cap

Previously, we found out that the non-boosted lucky rate for trades involving two new Pokémon is 5%, and trading older Pokémon increases this chance. In our publication from July 2022, we discovered that the chance for a trade to become lucky doesn’t go higher than 20% and that this cap is reached as soon as the combined age of both traded Pokémon equals 3 years (Reminder: This mechanic only counts full years since the catch date!).

In order to test if the cap applies to trades with a boosted lucky rate as well, Researchers were asked to trade as many Pokémon as possible where both Pokémon had a combined age of at least 3 years. For the initial analysis, we combined all of those trades together to determine an overall rate. During the event, our Researchers managed to do 675 trades involving Pokémon with a combined age of at least 3 years, out of which 215 were lucky. This leaves us with a rate of 31.85% (99% CI 27.3 – 36.6%) meaning the lucky rate cap was either increased along with the increased lucky rate or simply ignored during the event.

Looking at the combined ages separately, however, the former might be the correct assumption. Although the low amount of data for trades with combined ages of 5 and 6 years makes it hard to draw definite conclusions, it seems as though the lucky rate cap may have been increased to 30% during the event.

Combined age Number of trades Number of luckies Lucky rate Lower 99% CI Upper 99% CI
3+ years 675 215 31.85% 27.34% 36.56%
3 years 359 122 33.98% 27.74% 40.56%
4 years 227 65 28.63% 21.31% 36.67%
5 years 18 3 16.67% 2.09% 44.13%
6 years 67 25 37.31% 23.11% 52.92%

What does this mean for how the increased lucky trade chance actually works? The only thing that we can rule out with this data set is that the rate is not simply increased by 5% for each age category. Otherwise we would end up at a lucky rate of 25% for the 3 year category. This suggests that the lucky trade rate may be doubled during the event with an increased rate cap of 30%. Without having data for trades from the 1 and 2 year old categories however we can’t say this with certainty and will have to delay answering this part until the next event with increased lucky trade rates!

Parting Words

Our observations show that the lucky friend rate and the lucky trade rate for recently caught Pokémon (0 years of combined age) were the same as in past years. Intriguingly, though, we found that the 20% lucky rate cap due to Pokémon age did not apply to trades made during the event. Although we don’t know all the details yet, we can definitely say it’s worth keeping older Pokémon (3+ years of combined age) for future events like Lunar New Year!

Stay safe on the roads and may the odds be in your favor, travelers!